These days, sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips is out and fitness is in. With an obesity rate inching its way upwards, an increase in the number of fitness programs available, and an outpouring of studies that prove a link to good mental and physical health through exercise, more and more U.S. consumers are finding their way to gyms, recreational centers, and races. Couple that with the aging crop of millenials who are now more committed to exercise than ever, and you have a steady stream of exercisers who are constantly looking for the next big thing that helps them stay active while keeping up with the latest trends.
With 2013 marking another strong year for the nation’s most avid exercisers, now a handful of reports summarize what programs many U.S. consumers found themselves following this year. Whether it is through marathon racing, Cross-fitting, Zumba-ing, or spinning, Americans are now finding more and more ways to stay active and have fun doing it.
With the help of a few reports, we’ve compiled the top trends for 2013 thus far. Maybe this will help explain where your co-workers are rushing to get to after work.
1. Dance Fusion Classes
This first trend is one that started sticking back in 2012 when Zumba earned “Company of the Year” by Inc.com. The dance fitness craze is still just as popular in 2013, but now the trend has also spun off into a whole new division of classes that Health.com identifies as Doonya and GROOV3. Doonya is Bollywood-dance inspired fitness program that works the entire body, while GROOV3 is a hip-hop workout that is usually a one hour cardio-centric class.
The dance programs have proven especially appealing to women who are intimidated by the weights room or the high-tech cardio machines, and have demonstrated that consumers of every fitness and age level can get active and practice their dance skills while doing it.
2. High Intensity Interval Training
This next trend has a more aggressive name than Zumba, but it is a program that has a significant amount of research supporting its effectiveness. High intensity interval training or HIIT describes any workout that alternatives between quick bursts of intense activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or active rest. Proven especially efficient at improving strength and endurance while blasting fat, the Huffington Post highlights one Los Angeles-based trainer who confirms that HIIT is the latest fitness trend to take hold of Generation Y exercisers as well as their parents.
Mike Michaels explains, “Everything is going towards HIIT training and away from steady state training because people get results quicker. HIITs can be done with almost any type of exercise from running, rowing or swimming to weight lifting, but I don’t suggest doing it with Pilates or yoga.”
3. Mud Runs and Obstacle Races
Another craze that has hit America hard this year involves running — but not the kind you find on the treadmill. Many of this year’s runners have moved out of the gym and onto outside courses, and they tend to do it in style.
Themed races are especially popular this year, and as highlighted by Shape, events like the Tough Mudder and Spartan Race have taken the country by storm. The distance of these obstacle races races vary, but many are 5ks and involve obstacles such as wall climbs, mud pits, barbed wire, and more. Though these races cost money, they have proven to attract males and females of all ages, inspiring a camaraderie that one simply can’t find alone on a treadmill.
Fitness junkies are also still smitten with CrossFit. Not ringing any bells? Well, if your co-worker routinely checks out early, citing a commitment to her Box or WOD, you probably have a Cross-Fitter on your hands.
Founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning group fitness program that encourages a community atmosphere among its members. The fitness regime incorporates a mix of aerobic exercise, gymnastics, and Olympic weight training into its daily workout of the day (or WOD), and according to Health.com is based on the idea that “fit people and strong communities can change the world.” Many corporations are catching onto that trend and some even now offer to pay for the program for their employees.
Lastly, the bicycle, but not the kind that moves when you pedal. Yes, some citizens are still biking to work, but more and more exercisers are now also finding their way on to the stationery bikes at the gym, and they once again prove their interest in enjoying the exercise in group settings.
Spinning isn’t a new exercise, but it has grown in popularity ever since celebrities began singing its praises and more gyms worked to carry it. There are a now wide range of spin classes that fitness junkies can choose from, but the majority of them still come at a high price, even if you’re not participating in the most upscale classes. Those high-end classes include Soulcycle and Kinetic Cycling, and cost around $35 a session. Kelly Ripa has been known to credit Soulcycle for her trim and toned physique, and many Americans have now jumped on the bandwagon, quickly falling in love with the classes’ high energy, upbeat music, and choreographed routines.
It is clear from the highlighted trends that today’s exercisers are especially interested in working out with friends, neighbors, and gym buddies. Unfortunately for consumers, and fortunately for businesses, four of the five programs cost some kind of money, but many believe that the results are priceless.
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